Jing Essence in Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine takes seriously the importance of our relationship to the Earth. It is concerned with our broken connection to the Earth, and how we can re-connect to its natural rhythms. By doing this, we can begin to harmonize our body, breath and mind to capture, cultivate and nourish our in-built self-healing mechanisms.
Older civilisations, such as India and China, have developed naturalistic cultivation practices to maintain, deepen, and draw from our relationship with nature. Recently I have been learning about Ayurveda, which sits alongside Chinese Medicine as the oldest known living medical systems. They both clearly describe this nature-connection and cultivation process.
In Chinese Medicine it is described in the physiology and cultivation of our Pre and Post Natal Essence (Jing) and Qi. The Ayurveda speaks of our Prakriti – our inherent individual nature. It also speaks of the Soma, the nectar of life and how the wise collect it and drink it in.
Below is the lowdown on Jing Essence, what it is, how and why to treasure it.
Jing Essence and the Kidneys
I have paraphrased and built on the wonderfully comprehensive-yet-concise article about Jing from the Teelixir blog.
Jing is the deep, foundational energy reserves of the body that determines one’s vitality and the quantity and quality of one’s life span. Jing is precious and has long been recognised as a treasure that needs to be nourished, protected and preserved.
Imagine Jing is like your savings account of long-term energy. It is both our generator and battery of stored energy. It is the vitality that we utilise to bring forth new life and to insure good health in our older years. When we experience loss of this Jing we feel devitalised and can show signs of premature ageing.
‘The Kidneys’ is the name given (in translation from Chinese to English) to the places that store our battery pack. A reservoir of Jing energy is rooted in the Kidney meridian /Adrenal Glands/ Sacrum/ Lower Hara/ Sexual Organs & Hormones.
This is connected with longevity, vitality, sexual energy and our creative powers.
The Secret to a Long, Healthy Life
To lead a long healthy life, one must accumulate an abundance of Jing to recharge the ‘Kidneys’ and to avoid its reckless dissipation.
Jing governs the strength of our structural frame, hair, nails, our healing powers, our sexual functions and reproductive potential, our youthfulness and ability to handle stress, adversity, overwork, illness and the many other challenges that we face in our lives.
Health Consequences of Jing Depletion
Often in youth we feel that we are invincible. We lead lifestyles that tend to compromise our health and consume our Jing.
We abuse our bodies through reckless behaviour and activities that do not serve us: we study and work all day, party all night, drink and consume nutritionally depleted foods, we engage in excessive sexual activity, avoid sleep and burn the candle at both ends.
In our youthful naivety we mistakenly believe we have an endless supply of energy – failing to realise how we are rapidly depleting our precious reserves of Jing: our life-force.
This is described in detail in a 2000 year old classical book called the Nan Jing or the ‘Yellow Emperor’s Classic’. It seems that we humans haven’t changed a bit.
Jing Essence and Adrenal Fatigue
We may be able to spring back from such careless behaviours while we’re “young”. But over time many of us find that if we continue to live a lifestyle that does not promote good health for our body, the body begins to wear down and burn out.
Often we begin to really feel this towards the end of our 20s and beginning of our 30s.
We start to feel run down, the demands from our chosen career increase, often start families and our battery pack starts to run low, our body feels weak, we exhaust our adrenals, and our creative power and vitality begins to fade.
This is when dis-ease, illness and mental/emotional instability often creeps in.
What Does Jing Deficiency Look Like?
A Jing deficiency can manifest as back pain, knee pain, signs of premature ageing – grey hair, wearing of the teeth and joints, weight gain, poor eyesight, and loss of memory.
It can also be associated with chronic digestive issues, infertility, auto-immune conditions and compromised immunity.
It’s OK to Become Tired But Never Exhausted
There is a saying in Chinese medicine: “It is OK to become tired but never to become exhausted.”
If we want true vitality and an end to adrenal fatigue, we must cultivate and protect long-term health by operating in tune with natural law and learning to live a more balanced lifestyle.
When a person has an abundance of Jing they will be strong, robust, resilient and have a positive outlook and attitude toward life. They will be able to handle hard work and stressful situations without becoming drained.